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Luke 13:1-9 – Manure: Who Wants Some?
by Gary Sims
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The Gospels
Luke 13:1-9 – Manure: Who Wants Some?

Key Verses: (NRSV)

  • 1: “At that very time there were some present who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate and mingled with their sacrifices.” – Evidently Pilate had recently killed a group of Galileans while they worshiped. Perhaps he thought they were part of a rebel group plotting against the Romans.

  • 2: “He asked them, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?’” – Most people in the crowd around Jesus probably believed that who ever suffered in this way were deserving of their fate.

  • 5: “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” – Jesus reiterates the importance of repentance. If tragedy were to happen only to sinners, then we should all brace ourselves for the storm because we are all sinners. Only through the repentance of our sins will we be saved.

  • 6: “Then He told a parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none.’” – Always the teacher, Jesus turns the morning discussion into a story in order to reemphasize the point He was trying to make.

  • 7: “So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down!’” – What purpose does a fig tree have if it does not bear fruit?

  • 8: “He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it.’” – The gardener to the rescue. There is hope for this tree. Things can be done to help it meet its purpose.

  • 9: “If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.” – Mercy imparted. A life spared. But the expectations remain the same…bear fruit or be destroyed.
Points to Contemplate:
  • Do you look to place blame? When tragedy strikes, do you wonder if you might have done something to deserve this pain? Do you ever wonder – why me, Lord? The people gathered around Jesus were struggling with understanding two tragic losses. The victims were holy people; some giving religious sacrifices at the times of their death. Had they or their ancestors done something to earn this punishment? Do you see in Jesus’ response that there are no answers to these types of situations? Can you accept that things simply happen? That, at some point, we will all face death?

  • What’s the point? Does it matter how we live our lives, if we are still subject to the possibility of tragedy, pain, and suffering? Do you see that it is not our earthly lives we risk losing? They are already lost. Jesus in all of His lessons is repeatedly trying to teach us that it is our heavenly reward that is at risk if we do not repent of our sins. Have you called out to the Lord and repented? Have you accepted His sacrifice as payment for those sins? Are you changed by this experience? Are you now free?

  • Do you bear fruit? Or are you simply taking up space in the vineyard? Should you be cut down and burned? Or should you be tended and nourished? If so, for what purpose? Does the harshness of this parable cause you to be uneasy? Is it difficult to balance the ideas of a loving, nurturing God with the image of a judgmental God? Why is that? Don’t you want your life to mean something? Isn’t your relationship with God important to you? Doesn’t it make sense, then, that the way you respond to God’s love and grace is important to Him? Why would God continue to pour out His blessings on you if you refuse to play an active role in the building of His kingdom? Should He waste good ‘manure’ on you?
Promises of the Gospel:

Our relationship with God is important. How we choose to respond to God’s love and what we do with that love in the world around us matters to God. Terrible and tragic things can happen in our lives. Innocent people can lose everything at a moment’s notice without reason or cause. It doesn’t make sense. That is, it doesn’t make sense in the context of our earthly existence. It is only when we open our hearts and minds to eternity that we come to understand our role as God’s children. He has created us, selected us, and blessed us. But He has done so with a purpose in mind. That purpose is to bear fruit. As He pours out His love, grace, and mercy on us, we are to respond by sharing His love to the world.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker  11 Mar 2004
I have read several of your devotionals now. I have enjoyed every one of them. I love the use of scripture and its application into our lives. Well written and well thought out. The lay out is impeccable too.
Lawrence Farlow 11 Mar 2004
This is indeed very good. I especially liked the title,very engaging, that's what caused me to look at it to start with. The application of scripture was right on target. A message we all definately need to hear.


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